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Tom Crist Lottery Win Advance Fee Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Emails purporting to be from Canadian lottery winner Tom Crist claim that you have been selected to receive a large cash donation.

Brief Analysis

The emails are not from Tom Crist. They are advance fee scams designed to trick recipients into sending their money and personal information to criminals. Mr Crist really did win a very large lottery prize and he indeed gave all of his winnings to charity. However, he is not distributing the money to random strangers via the Internet.

Examples

Subject: Charity Donation Funds.Tom Crist, the Canadian man that won a $40 million Canadian dollar lottery
prize is writing to inform you that Google in alliance with Facebook have
submitted your Email-Address to receive $1,200,000.00 USD from me, as I have
decided to give all my winnings away to charity, individuals and
organisations.For claims, send me your *Full-Names, *Age, *Phone-Number, *Address and
*Country.my recent donations on link below;

 

From: Tom Christ

Hello you have a donation of 4,800,000.00USD, I won the America lottery in America worth $40 million, and i am giving a portion of it to five lucky people and charity homes in memory of my late wife who died of cancer. Contact me for more details:

 

Detailed Analysis

An ongoing series of fake donation emails have been hitting inboxes since 2014.

According to the emails, the lucky recipient has been chosen to receive a very large sum of money from generous Canadian lottery winner Tom Crist. The emails claim that Tom Crist has decided to give all of his more than forty million dollar prize to “charity, individuals and organisations”. 
Tom Crist is a real person and he really did win a very large prize in a Canadian lottery. And, Mr Crist told media outlets that he intended to donate his entire $42 million prize to charity.

However, these emails are not from Tom Crist and recipients will certainly not receive the unexpected million-dollar windfall that the messages promise. In fact, the messages are advance fee scams designed to separate naïve recipients from their money and personal information.

Those who take the bait and reply with their information as instructed will soon receive follow-up messages from “Tom” that claim that various fees must be paid in advance before the funds can be released. The scammer – still pretending to be Tom Crist – will claim that the money is required to cover legal and insurance costs, tax, banking fees, and a host of other – entirely imaginary – expenses.

The scammers will make it clear that if the recipient does not pay all of the requested fees up front, he or she will forfeit the claim on the windfall. Requests for fees will likely to continue until the victim runs out of money or realizes that he or she is being scammed.

And, as the scam unfolds, the criminal may have managed to trick the victim into supplying a large amount of personal and financial information. This data may later be used to steal the victim’s identity.

Over the last few years, it has become a common advance fee scammer tactic to use the names of real lottery winners as a means of gaining new victims. As in the case of Tom Crist, lottery winners often do give some or all of their winnings to charity.

However, it is extremely unlikely that any lottery winner would choose to randomly distribute millions of dollars to strangers based on the selection of their email address.

Internet users should be very wary of any email or social media message that claims that they have been awarded a large sum of money from a lottery win, grant or promotional draw, based on the random selection of their name, username, or email address. Such claims should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

Advance fee scams such as the one described here are very common and continue to find new victims every day.


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer